President Donald Trump issued just the second veto of his presidency, rejecting a congressional resolution that would have put an end to U.S. involvement in the Yemen civil war. The war has pitted Saudi Arabia and its allies against Houthi rebels that many believe are linked to Iran.
President Trump blasted the resolution, arguing: “This resolution is an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities, endangering the lives of American citizens and brave service members, both today and in the future.”
The Trump administration has noted that there are no American troops participating in or accompanying Saudi-led military forces on the ground in Yemen. The Yemeni civil war is believed to have resulted in tens of thousands of deaths. Besides airstrikes, many are believed to have died from disease and famine.
Meanwhile in the United States, support for Saudi Arabia has waned since the death of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist who was allegedly killed by Saudi government agents inside the Saudi Arabian embassy in Turkey. Since then, most Democrats and some Republicans have grown fiercely critical of the regime.
However, Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud (MBS) have strong ties with the Trump administration and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. The Trump administration has refused to pressure MBS regarding Khashoggi’s death and has likewise refused to cut support to Saudi Arabia.
Members of Congress have argued that aid to Saudi Arabia violates the War Powers Resolution Act, which outlines that the United States can only go to war with explicit permission from Congress. The bill passed the House 247-175, garnering support from 16 Republicans. The bill also passed the Senate 54 to 46 after seven Republicans crossed the aisle to vote with Democrats.